ICEF Informal Curriculum
ICEF is known not only for its study programmes, but also for its rich extracurricular activities, including career services, the involvement of alumni, and social outreach. Sergey Konyshev, Head of the Academic Support Department, and Polina Beloborodova, ICEF Career Centre manager, told The HSE Look how and what students learn through the informal curriculum.
Sergey Konyshev about ICEF Career Centre:
ICEF has a Career Centre which organizes different career-oriented events for students and helps them in finding internship opportunities. The main feature of our programme is that the events span all years of studies, helping the students to understand their goals and to master the tools which are needed to achieve them. There are two major tracks, one concerns general employment and another is focused on academic development.
Regarding the first career track, we hold workshops, regular meetings with our alumni and potential employers, as well as organize elective courses taught by companies’ representatives. Students learn how to write a CV, how to get an interview for an internship or a job, how to develop their soft skills – and they have a chance to ask questions about the skills the companies are looking for. Within the academic track, students prepare to pursue a degree abroad, learning about the requirements for a Master’s or PhD programme, choosing where to apply and preparing the motivation letter and other documents. We have a full database of ICEF alumni and can put the students in touch with people who studied or currently study at their chosen university.
Polina Beloborodova added that ICEF Alumni Council organizes informal workshops, inviting alumni working in different spheres to tell the students about their career path, both the opportunities and the pitfalls. The main goals of these events are, firstly, to give the students a chance to learn practical information about how to get an internship at the company they want to work for and what that work actually entails, secondly, to present a variety of possible career choices for an ICEF graduate, and thirdly, to provide networking opportunities. There is also a mentorship programme that responds to similar needs but through individual interaction. ICEF contacts alumni and students, looking for those who want to be a part of the mentorship programme, helps to arrange the matches, and the feedback of 2016/17 was very positive.
Alumni Council also gets involved into ICEF programme design through giving recommendations on how to improve the curriculum so that it better meets the needs of the dynamic employment market. For example, some of ICEF elective courses taught by companies were prompted by the alumni roundtables on how to equip ICEF students with skills needed for working in IT and real estate industries.
Sergey Konyshev about student initiatives:
Though the studies are very intense, ICEF students get actively involved in different projects. Two of the most prominent ones are ICEF Outreach and ICEF Evening School.
ICEF Outreach is a student-driven organisation which has been working with several orphanages in Ryazan region for 19 years. This year it was renamed into HSE Outreach, but it has always welcomed students from other faculties who were willing to get involved into consistent work with children, meet with them, organise educational and cultural field trips for them, etc. The students regularly hold baking sales to raise funds.
ICEF Evening School is different from this social initiative, but also involves working with schoolkids – it is a preparatory track for those who are interested in economics and finance. They can learn what the economists actually do and to see whether they are prepared to study at ICEF, as the classes are held in both Russian and English. The lectures are held on a voluntary basis by the best ICEF students and alumni, and the school has become quite popular not only in Moscow but also in other regions.
Read more articles about ICEF in The HSE Look July 2017 issue